Okay, time to get back to the plot unfolding.
Back in Chapter Nine Odelle is on top of the world. He’s just won a major fight, he’s in line for a shot at the championship and he’s married to the love of his life. What could go wrong?
Well, for one thing Mona’s daddy doesn’t know about the marriage yet and Jimmy (the rat) manages to tip him off at the big party. There follows a nasty confrontation wherein Mona gets disowned by her dad and Odelle loses his financial backing. Hank Desmond also threatens to blackball him from the fight game.
Odelle and his trainer Clay Caxton, swear they will carry on but now it will be even more difficult to get that championship bout with Rocky Marx.
I’ll fast forward through the scene where Odelle and Mona sing their love duet mainly because I’m not pleased with the sound quality of the demo.
So, we end up here at the Blue Tiger Club. The scene opens with Miss Loretta Jewel singing the Willow Song. Originally I had thought that Mona would sing this since that’s what happens in the original play but Paul thought otherwise. He has Loretta (the Emelia) character sing it. At first I was puzzled by this but Paul had some very good reasons for doing it this way. Unfortunately this discussion happened so long ago that I can’t remember what they were. However I have grown to love this idea. For me the Willow Song done by Loretta functions more like a Greek Chorus, commenting on the results of Jimmy’s treachery. Another plus is that she is still standing at the end of the show to reprise the song in a larger arrangement than when it first appears. Paul, if you’re checking in on this and recall all the great points you made about Loretta singing the Willow Song, please refresh my memory.
Now in Othello Emelia is Iago’s wife. In Sweet Willow Loretta is Jimmy Shine’s ex-girlfriend. She wants nothing to do with Jimmy anymore but finds it difficult to resist his charm. She is also the one who secretly tipped off the police resulting in Jimmy’s arrest and prison sentence. He thinks Odelle ratted him out so he could make moves on Loretta. There’s no way to convince him otherwise.
In this scene Loretta is on stage at the Blue Tiger Club. She is accompanied by the club’s house piano player, also on stage. The patrons sit at small tables to listen.
There’s a poor soul, she’s sittin’ ‘neath the weepin’ willow tree.
Her hand on her heart, her head on her knee.
The stream started sighin’ with an echo to her moan.
Her tears, Lord she’s cryin’, they wash away the hard, hard, hard stones.
Willow, weepin’ willow tell me where my true love gone.
He is somewhere beyond, so sad and so alone.
I’d like to acknowledge and thank the talents of Ailsa Weisnewski and Hans Brehmer for this performance of the Willow Song.